Movie Review: For Greater Glory
Written by Ricky Jones
Finally, a well-made Catholic film with an all-star cast of talented actors who bring this untold story to life on the big screen. For Greater Glory tells the tale of the Cristero War which took place during the 1920’s in Mexico when the government put laws in to place to do away with the Catholic Church in their country.
Standing Up for What You Believe In
As these laws go into effect, the government sends federal troops—federales—to enforce them. As Peter O’Toole‘s character, Fr. Christopher, is preparing himself for the arrival of the federales, a young boy named José pleads with him to run and hide. But Fr. Christopher offers one of the best lines in the film: “Who are you if you don’t stand up for what you believe?” This is one of the most touching scenes of the movie when he holds young José, kisses his forehead, and blesses him right before he is taken out and shot.
And how true is this statement of faith! It’s providential that this film comes at this time in which Catholics in the United States are faced with a similar dilemma: allow the government to take away their fundamental freedoms—freedoms given to all by our Creator, which make our nation great—or stand up for our freedom and what we believe in.
Priests aren’t being murdered by firing squad, but the Church is under attack and if we don’t stand up for Her, who will? We are called to be witnesses to our faith, to Christ, whether that means to die for Him, or to give our lives in other ways.
“For Greater Glory vividly depicts the difficult circumstances in which Catholics of that time lived—and died for—their faith. It is a top-flight production whose message of the importance of religious freedom has particular resonance for us today. It is my earnest hope that people of faith throughout our country will rally behind For Greater Glory, and in doing so, will highlight the importance of religious freedom in our society.”
~ Most Rev. José H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles
For Greater Glory tells the story of the many people who gave their lives “for the greater glory of God,” to protect their freedom to practice their faith. These martyrs have gone before us and should inspire us to boldly live our faith and fight for our God-given rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This part of Mexican history was kept out of the history books and for that reason it is such a great achievement to see it come to life in living color.
Raising the Bar for Makers of Catholic Films
This film is not what we’ve come to expect of Catholic movies. It has definitely raised the bar as far as production goes. The characters are believable with phenomenal performances from Andy Garcia, Ruben Blades, Eva Longoria, and Mauricio Kuri. Two of the most outspoken actors on pro-life issues, Karyme Lozano and Eduardo Verástegui, also star in this great film.
There is lots of action, but it doesn’t take away from the plot. In one of the action scenes a soldier is shot on horseback and as he is falling to the ground in slow motion you see every detail, from the expression on his face, to the bullets continuing to hit him, and the sand spraying up around him as he hits the ground. This is really great camera work and there are more scenes like it throughout the film.
Although there is quite a bit of action and war-related violence, it’s not your overly bloody violence that we see in most main stream Hollywood productions. However, this is probably not a movie to take your children to. The R rating is reasonable, but it’s not for the usual foul language, sex, and drugs. I applaud them for this. In a day where even PG-13 films have multiple sex scenes and are filled with sexual innuendo, For Greater Glory stands tall.
Visit the official “For Greater Glory” website to find a theater near you.